Siouxland schools tackle new Friday night football protocols due to pandemic

Local News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU)- Friday night high school football kicks off this week for many Siouxland school districts. But this season, as we all know, is different than past seasons because of the COVID-19.

“We’ve been building up for this season for three years so far and yeah, we’re hoping it all goes out with a bang,” said Stetson Hulstein, a senior football player at Sioux Center Community High School.

Seniors will hit the field Friday night for their last season as a Warrior.

“I’m really hoping we can make it the whole time and that’s why we really need to be careful with what we’re doing so that we’re good to go,” said Kole Cleveringa, a senior football player at Sioux Center High School.

Teams received the green light to play in late July from the Iowa High School Athletic Association.

“These kids have worked really really hard for this and we just need to get this year going right,” said Mark Hulshof, the Athletic Director at Sioux Center Community Schools.

School districts are following guidelines set forth by their local health departments and the IHSAA.

“We’re asking everyone to wear a mask except for when our athletes, our cheerleaders, and band members are participating, then they are not required to wear a mask,” said Anthony Elias the Athletic Director at Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools.

Fans can expect the bleacher section to look a bit different this season. Many of the districts will be operating at 50% capacity so that they are able to social distance.

“So we have roped off bleachers, we have also brought in eight different sections so that we can spread people out and there will be plenty of room with the bleachers and areas to stand,” said Hulshof.

“Each player and coach is going to be given four wristbands today, and they can give those wrist bands out to whoever they choose, so we’re just trying to keep our attendance as low as possible so people can spread out,” said Elias.

Both Bishop Heelan and Sioux Center say they have been doing their best to prevent the spread of COVID on their teams practicing in smaller groups, social distancing, and not sharing water bottles. But once the season begins and teams begin competitions with one another, there a lot of uncertainty on how the season will play out.

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